by Lin Given
Syria’s civil war continues to cause chaos in the country, sending residents fleeing to the European Union to escape the violence, despite the hazards of their journey. The massive exodus is unprecedented in modern history, creating a logistical nightmare in the countries where they are seeking refuge.
Libyans are also fleeing violence in their country, adding to the problem.
Small boats, some of which are inflatable’s, are severely overloaded in an attempt to take as many people as possible on each trip. The boats often capsize in rough seas, drowning the occupants. One collided with commercial traffic, killing all onboard. Those who flee by land do not fare much better. The death toll now exceeds 190,000.
Hungary and Croatia have refused to allow the refugees passage through their countries and are not accepting any more of them into their countries. Fences topped with razor wire have been hastily erected to prevent their passage.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin has sent troops and armament into Syria to aide Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The purpose behind Putin’s actions is still unclear, causing concern in other countries in the region and in the United States.
Some analysts believe that the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and the removal of U.S. troops from the country left a vacuum in the region, allowing the formation and rapid growth of the ruthless terror group, ISIS. This coupled with the failure of U.S. trained Iraqi troops to defend their country has left ISIS largely unopposed. Several ancient historical sites that have stood for thousands of years have been decimated by the group and they have unmercifully slaughtered any foreign nationals that have been captured by them. The rest of the world, including other Muslims, should take note; radical Islam is as much a threat to moderate Islam as it is to western countries and religions.
Leaders of the European Union states have been meeting regularly in an attempt to find a workable solution to deal with the refugee problem. The open borders between the member states make screening and security nearly impossible, without using measures like Hungary and Croatia. Many fear that terrorists might seize the opportunity to gain access to the European states and commit acts of terror in them in the future.
One of the major problems faced by E.U. leadership in their emergency meetings to deal with this crisis is the intolerance of the Islamic religion for the established Christian religions in their countries. This intolerance persists, regardless of the benevolence shown to them. Radical Islamic leaders, along with terrorist groups, teach hatred toward western nations, religions and peoples. They are taught that anyone who does not accept Islam is worthy of death. Accepting the refugees into their countries could put their own populations at extreme risk. There have been many instances where Muslims and immigrants from other countries have lived in western nations for many years, some having been born in those nations, committing acts of terror. These people were respected members of the communities where they lived prior to their horrendous acts. Even with careful screening, there will be those who, at some point, will rise up and commit acts of terror in the very countries where they were welcomed when they were fleeing from the same kind of violence in their home countries. This is something that the leadership of countries accepting refugees must weigh; if they choose to help, they are putting their citizens at risk; if they choose not to help, they will be criticized and accused of being inhumane.
Germany is the country of choice for the majority of the refugees, but Hungary and Croatia, by refusing to allow refugees passage through their countries, effectively blockade the land route. In addition, Turkey has also limited passage to refugees. The only other option is for them to risk the perilous trip, where the majority of the deaths have occurred, across the Mediterranean Sea to Greece or Italy.
Those who do try the land route, use any means available to get to their intended destinations. They pack themselves into trucks and trains, or attempt to walk to their destinations. There have been several instances where refugees suffocated in the crowded spaces.
Unfortunately, most of the funding for terrorist groups in the Middle East comes from the sale of oil. Prior to the discovery of the vast amounts of oil beneath the desserts, Middle Eastern countries were, for the most part, poor countries that often fought amongst themselves but did not have the resources to inflict harm far from their borders. Oil money has changed that, providing the radical leadership with more than adequate funding and resources to spread their hatred and violence throughout the world. The internet allows them to recruit followers in any nation where it is available.
There is no end in sight to the refugee crisis. As long as the wars and persecution continue, the people not involved in the violence will continue to flee their countries, seeking a safer place to live. Perhaps if they would consider the source of their persecution, they would be much more appreciative of western nations, religions and peoples that are genuinely concerned for their well being.